Way to reduce arsenic content in rice discovered


Researchers from China and UK have discovered a method to reduce arsenic levels in rice. Inorganic arsenic is a carcinogenic. Ingesting arsenic especially by consuming rice presents a significant risk to human health. The scientists used genome-wide association mapping and identified High Arsenic Content 1 (HAC1) as the gene responsible for the reduction of arsenate to arsenite. Plants that lack this gene fail to reduce the arsenate resulting in increased arsenic in the shoots. The high levels of arsenic in the shoots leads to arsenic toxicity in food crops. They also showed that HAC1 is used by the flowering plant Arabidopsis thaliana to control arsenic accumulation. Deletion of this gene led to a 300-fold increase in arsenic accumulation in the plants studied. This study provides new insights into development of low-arsenic crops for consumption.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.